Friday, October 16, 2015

Ginger Molasses Cookies

With apple and pumpkin pastries in good supply, it’s also absolutely a good time to roll out ginger cookies.  Everybody knows it wouldn’t be fall without them.  Spicy, chewy and crisp, they pack a real burst of flavor to remind us just how pleasing a little sugar and spice can be.  They are impossible to resist.

Ginger is a delicious and powerful ingredient in all its forms.  It comes from a flowering plant indigenous to China and has long been a central ingredient in Asian and Indian food.  We now find it enhancing cuisines all over the world.  In America, it's also a part of the pastry and beverage universe.

Molasses is a by-product of the sugar refining process.  The first syrup produced from boiling the juices of sugar cane is called cane syrup.  Molasses is the product of a second boiling.  Blackstrap molasses is the very strong and slightly bitter result of a third boiling.  

Of course, ginger cookies also appeal to us because they are full of lots of strong spices.  In this batch, I add a heady mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg.  This means your kitchen will be filled with quite an intoxicating aroma as you slide them into the oven and let them do their magic.  

If you have a cookie jar, I suggest you fill it with these cookies ASAP.  After all, it’s October and nothing says autumn like Ginger Molasses Cookies.  I'm definitely feeling it.

Bench notes:
- I always use Grandma's Molasses for baking.
- A #40 ice cream scoop is great for portioning the cookie dough.  This produces 36 2 1/2” cookies.
- I like my ginger cookies soft and chewy in the center and crispy at the edges so I baked mine for 11 minutes.  For crispier cookies, bake them another minute or so. Since all ovens are different, I recommend baking just a couple cookies first to get the timing right for your idea of perfect texture.  Let them cool for about 5 minutes, taste, judge and then carry on.
- If you want to crank up the heat in these cookies, toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh grated ginger when you add the molasses.
- I also recommend the easy and sublime Gingerbread Bars.  If you like chocolate mixed with your ginger, try Ginger Chocolate Cookies.  Ginger Cream with Blueberries is a creamy pop of ginger as is Ginger Ice Cream.

Ginger Molasses Cookies
Makes 36 2 1/2” cookies

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 oz) flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
scant 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
6 oz (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter @ room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg @ room temperature
1/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) molasses
2 tablespoons (1 oz) candied ginger, minced

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) sugar, for dusting
pinch cinnamon
pinch allspice

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and both sugars until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl and add the egg.  Beat until fully combined.  Scrape down the bowl and blend in the molasses.  Add the flour mixture and the minced candied ginger and mix just until there are no streaks of flour.  Chill the dough until firm, about an hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
Place 1/3 cup of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and allspice in a shallow bowl.

Scoop or portion the cookie dough into 1 1/4” balls and roll in spiced sugar to coat them evenly.  Place 12 on each prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the cookies are light brown, puffed and cracked on the surface and just set around the edges, about 11 - 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool.


Beth said...

Ginger cookies take me right back to my grandmother's kitchen. There's nothing simpler, or better, than a perfect ginger cookie!

pastry studio said...

I have to agree with you on that! They're so satisfying because they've got such intriguing flavors and a great texture. Pure bliss.

coffee+pastry said...

Thanks for sharing your recipes - I'm checking them out one @ a time. I'll be making each + every one w/in the next 6 mos to a year:) After which I'll follow up w/a by-pass surgery, or something.
In the meantime, are there any other flours I can substitute for the APF for the ginger M cookies? I just saw your post + I have to bake those cookies, lime my life depends on it (BTW, it does), but unfortunately I'm out of plain flour (shocker!). Help, the brain is on fire!!

pastry studio said...

Hi coffee+pastry! I've never tried these cookies with other flours. They'd probably work with pastry flour if you have that. Cake flour would make for very tender cookies, less chewy, plus cake flour is lighter - 1 cup of AP is 5 oz and 1 cup of cake is 4 oz. Soooooooo, go and buy and some AP flour!

Hope you enjoy working through these recipes. Have fun with it!